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Mom treasured conjoined twins in short lifespan

AmandSchulten Marengo is expecting twins knows they are conjoined. Their prospects for survival are not very good according doctors. The

Amanda Schulten of Marengo is expecting twins and knows they are conjoined. Their prospects for survival are not very good, according to doctors. The 21-year-old is dealing with the situation with her strong faith in God. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Family fundraiser

A fundraiser to help pay medical expenses for the conjoined twin daughters of Amanda Schulten is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Hair Cuttery, 345 Randall Road, South Elgin.

Updated: November 16, 2011 11:14AM

MARENGO — The conjoined twins born to a 21-year-old woman from Marengo have died.

Amanda Schulten said her daughters Faith and Hope, who were joined at the heart and shared other vital organs, lived just 23 days, passing away peacefully in their mother’s arms on Sept. 29.

“I treasured ever single moment with them,” Schulten said. “I was there every minute, and was there when they passed away.”

The twin girls never left the University of Chicago Hospital, where they were born via Cesarean section on Sept. 6.

Schulten said she and her fiancé Peter Fatigati were “blindsided,” and had little warning prior to their death.

However, they also realized that conjoined twins sharing a heart have a grave prognosis.

The already bleak prognosis became more ominous three days after birth, when a scan revealed a shunted heart — when oxygen-poor blood flows from one side to the other, and into the circulatory system.

“After the scan, they told us they’d have a shorter life span,” Schulten said. “But we thought it could be at least a year.”

‘I know where they are’

The girls had separate heads but had one body, sharing a heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.

Schulten’s story appeared in The Beacon-News and other Sun-Times Media publications twice last month, both before and after the twins were born.

The stories drew a few negative comments from some who said she should have had an abortion early on. But Schulten, deeply religious, said she wanted to give her daughters a chance to live no matter how long that might be.

When asked if she knowing about the short lifespan ahead of time would have changed her decision to continue with the pregnancy, Schulten answered, “Never.”

Her only regret is not being able to see them grow, she said.

“I didn’t get to hear their voices, or see them walk,” she said. “That is the hardest thing.”

Private funeral services for the twins were held last Monday, where 23 pink and 23 purple balloons — symbolizing the days they both lived — were released in their honor.

“It was beautiful,” Schulten said. “I’m sad to see them gone, and miss them, but I know where they are… in heaven, where everyone wants to eventually go. I know I’ll see them one day.”

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